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Pure game analysis by Bill van Zyl

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Post Mortem SA vs Italy

 

 

This has been one of the most difficult weekends I have ever experienced.

 

I make it a habit to avoid publically commenting on a rugby match in the immediate aftermath of the event. I try hard to avoid commenting while I am still caught up in the moment. I want time to look at the game again, remote control in hand, so that I can analyse what happened on the field of play, rewinding and replaying moments, movements, and phases of play.  I want to understand what happened.

 

This weekend I had to force myself to walk away from the computer and stay away from social media to avoid making comments about South Africa’s performance against Italy. I was not so much disappointed as I was angry. When you lose at any sport, and you have fought to the bitter end, you might be disappointed. If you have gone down fighting, you have a right to be a little disappointed. But if you have lost because of inexplicable ineptitude, indifference, or simply sheer stupidity, then you have a right to be angry. And your fans and supporters have a right to be angry too!

 

 Last year South Africa lost their opening game in the 2015 Rugby World Cup to Japan, and I was angry. I wrote an article titled: “Outthought, outcoached, outplayed and outsmarted.”

 

I commented on Jean de Villiers saying:

 

“It was just one of those performances. You can’t put your finger on what was the exact reason. We will take responsibility. It was a below par performance. It was unacceptable.”

 

I pointed out that Jean was absolutely correct in two of his thoughts. Yes, they did need to take responsibility, and yes, it was unacceptable.

 

I also said that he was completely incorrect when he said that “it was just one of those performances” and “you can’t put a finger on what was the exact reason.” He is also wrong in suggesting “it was a below par performance.”

 

I then went on to say:

 

“Yet, the writing has been on the wall for this Springbok outfit for some time, if you were prepared to read it, some might suggest that there are those who should read it, but cannot actually read.”

 

I went on to analyse how Eddie Jones had outthought, out-planned, and out-coached the Springbok team and their coaches.

 

The Japanese effort was a masterful display of thinking about the game of rugby, analysing the opponents, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and working out how to counter their strengths and exploit their weaknesses.

 

Eddie Jones came up with a game-plan that both contained South Africa, got them turned around, and then gave his side every chance of an upset. The Japanese team’s discipline and rigid commitment to defensive structures coupled to a real determination to win was the biggest difference between the two sides.

 

I tried to find reasons why this hugely experienced Springbok outfit was so thoroughly beaten by Japan. I tried to be brutally honest about the Springbok team and their game plan, and their complete and total inability to read a game and adjust their on-field thinking to counter the game-plan of an opponent.

 

I pointed out the leaky Bok defence.  I made mention of the numerous basic mistakes made by the Springboks. I spoke of the penalty count at the breakdown, the failure to roll away from the ruck, failure to release the tackled player, and a failure to observe the off-side line in rucks and mauls.

 

I listed the number of turnovers conceded by the Springboks, their failure to protect the ball in the tackle, a failure of supporting players getting to the ball carrier, and a failure to seal off the ball on the ground.

 

I made special mention of the number of times Japan held up the Boks in the Japanese 22, and then turned the ball over to relieve the pressure.

 

I especially decried the poor execution of the very basics of rugby and the way the Boks seemed at a loss to understand the game they were playing.

 

I spoke of a captain who was a shadow of the player he was four  years earlier. I emphasised the age of the players concerned. Eleven on the run-on team for that game against Japan were over the age of 30.

 

Perhaps most emphatically and loudly, I shouted about a team that had no discernable game plan whatsoever.

 

I mentioned a pack of forwards that simply did not have a clue what to do with the ball when they got it! Half the time they failed to hang on to the ball, losing it in knock-ons, wayward passes and off loads, or simply going to ground and letting it go. The rest of the time they instinctively tucked the ball under an arm and charged aimlessly at the opposition. No support, no cohesiveness, and no combinations at all.

 

The support on the ground was ponderous and slow, with little effective cleaning out or sealing of the ball. Not too much fetching either.

 

There seemed to be no real plan of attack at the back either. In fact, there seemed to be no attack whatsoever.

 

I quote my final words: “This was a team with no structure, no cohesiveness, and certainly no evident game plan at all.”

 

That was Rugby World Cup 2015.

 

Moving on to Italy 2016.

 

Guess what? History has repeated itself in so many remarkable ways!

 

There were some differences: This time I do not think the Italian side out-thought and out-played the Boks. I do not think the Italians had to do anything special to beat the 2016 Boks. The Boks seemed set on beating themselves.

 

We also did not see the selection of a bunch of geriatrics to represent South Africa in a Test match.

 

Perhaps the most marked difference between the 2015 RWC team against Japan and the 2016 team against Italy was the fact that the 2016 team do seem to have a game plan. A weirdly archaic game plan, but a plan nevertheless. We will dissect this plan a little later.

 

But the similarities between 2015 and 2016 are remarkable.

 

This is a Springbok team with no structure, no cohesiveness, and no fire in the belly. This is a Springbok team where the very basics of rugby seem to have been forgotten. This was a Bok team that seemed think that they only had to pitch up and the Italians would roll over and submit. It was Japan all over again.

 

The South Africans arrived in Florence on the back-foot. The lead-up to the game against Italy had been as poor as any in living memory. The less we say about the Rugby Championships the better. A scrambled draw against a pick-up Barbarians outfit, followed by a complete mess of a game against England. Much was made in the pre-game management pronouncements about a “clinical game” and focussed rugby.

 

Sadly it was not to be. There was absolutely nothing clinical about the South African game. It was one of the ugliest mish-mash games of rugby I have ever seen from a South African rugby team at any level. There was a very evident game plan, but it was poorly contrived and even more poorly executed. In fact it was a recipe for disaster.

 

Let’s examine the game plan in detail.

 

Rugby is a simple game.

 

You get hold of the ball, carry it down field, and dot it down over the goal line. If your opponents have the ball, you need to stop them from carrying it downfield and scoring. Once you have stopped them from carrying the ball downfield, you need to get that ball away from them so that you can start carrying it downfield yourself.

 

There is nothing complicated about that.

 

Everything about the game of rugby revolves around getting hold of the ball, carrying the ball, scoring, or stopping your opponents from carrying the ball, and taking it away from them.

 

The game gets complicated when you try and carry the ball downfield, and your opponents have worked out how to stop you! And if they know how to stop you, and then they know how to take the ball away from you, you have a problem on your hands. Then you need to change the way you take the ball downfield, or so one would think.

 

And this is where the Springbok team’s problems started on Saturday.

 

They got hold of the ball. They held the ball for 58% of the game time. They carried the ball, all of 471 meters on the field. That was 339 meters further than their opponents! The Italians managed just 132 meters with the ball in hand.

 

The Springboks spent 58% of the game time carrying the ball, and they spent most of that time in the Italian half of the field. They had 62% of the territorial advantage!

 

Based on all those statistics, surely the Boks should have won the game?

 

One would think so. But this is where it all started to go a bit wonky.

 

You see, when you are carrying the ball, and the opponents know how to stop you from taking it downfield, then you need to change the way you are carrying the ball. You need a Plan B……

 

And the Boks have no Plan B.

 

Consider this:

 

Rudy Paige was the Bok scrumhalf. He got his hands on the ball 71 times in the game. Three times he kicked the ball, and 68 of those times he passed the ball. Paige was replaced by Faf de Klerk, who came on for 28 minutes and got his hands on the ball 16 times. He ran with the ball twice. He passed it 11 times, kicked it once, and knocked the ball on once.

 

Cumulatively, the two scrumhalves got their hands on the ball 88 times in the Test match. They kicked the ball four times, knocked it on once, and passed it 84 times.

 

Pat Lambie was the starting flyhalf in this game, for all of 52 minutes. In those 52 minutes he received the ball just 17 times. He kicked it once, and knocked it on once. He passed it 14 times and offloaded the ball once.

 

On came Elton Jantjies to replace Pat Lambie at flyhalf.  He had 28 minutes on the field. He got the ball just 9 times. Twice from field kicks and 7 times that the ball was passed to him.

 

The two flyhalves got their hands on the ball just 26 times!

 

I do not have the statistics for how many times either Lambie or Jantjies got the ball from someone other than their scrumhalves, but let’s assume that they got all their balls from the halfbacks. That tells us that they received 26 passes from their scrumhalves in the entire game of rugby.

 

That also tells us that the two scrumhalves either kicked the ball away, four times between the two of them, or they gave the ball to someone other than their flyhalf 58 times on Saturday.

 

Think carefully about those stats!

 

2 out of every 3 balls won by South Africa were passed to someone other than the flyhalf. Most usually the pass went to a forward. Let me rephrase that: the ball went to a forward, time and time again.

 

And therein lies the single biggest problem in this South African team. They are playing a mindless, forward oriented crashball game of rugby where each and every ball is passed to a pod of forwards who attempt to crash forward a meter or two before going to ground with the ball. If everything is working well, the ball gets recycled and the scrumhalf feeds the ball on, to another pod of forwards, and then to another, and another.

 

In almost every situation on the rugby field, the first receiver is a forward. The backs are simply ignored, completely starved of the ball. The receiving forward almost always takes the ball straight back into contact. Over and over again.

 

The game plan is single minded, and totally predictable.

 

For this game plan to have any chance of success it requires an enormously physical approach by the entire pack of forwards. It requires physical domination of the opposition for the entire 80 minutes of the game. It also requires very strict disciplines, both in ball handling as well as ball retention, and especially with protection of the ball in contact.

 

Opponents know exactly how to defend against the predictability of the Bok game plan. Their forwards know exactly where to go and what to do. Their backs can stay out from the contact situation and set up to defend if and when the ball might go out to the Springbok back line.

 

Add in the modern method of committing no more than one, perhaps two defenders to the breakdown situation, and spreading your forwards as an extra line of defence on either side of the breakdown. This system almost always results in defenders outnumbering attackers and thus preventing a team from engineering the extra man out wide. The Springboks are never going to engineer the extra man out wide, but then they are not likely to let the ball go out wide anyway.

 

After watching the Springboks bore the world to tears with the constant pop pass to a forward at first receiver, I watched the All Black playing against Ireland.

 

We know that the All Black play a game based on the simple tactic of taking the ball away from contact as much as possible. A direct contrast to the Bok style of playing rugby.

 

They do this by constantly shifting the ball one away from the impending contact, either through offloads or through longer passes. Handling skills are paramount, and they keep the ball alive until the inevitable hole appears in the opposing ranks, and then they strike at speed.

 

In direct contrast to the Bok system the All Blacks almost invariably use a back as first receiver of the ball after a breakdown situation. A pod of forwards always sets up in the midfield, but the ball always goes to the backline player first, who then has options – Carry the ball, kick the ball, pass it to the back division, or pass it to that pod of forwards. If he opts for a pass to the pod of forwards, usually the two lock forwards and a prop, they will either shuffle it amongst themselves and head towards contact, or they will attempt to take it through the tackle and release the ball.

 

If that pod of All Black forwards is not used as ball recipients, they are stationed in the midfield to provide the heavy cavalry support when the backs run into difficulties. It is all so simple.

 

Watching them against Ireland the contrast in the game plan of the All Blacks and the Springboks was starkly visible. If the ball did not go to the flyhalf, the first receiver was wearing a 12, a 13, or an 11 or a 14 on their back. Sometimes it was Ben Smith coming from the back.

 

If the Irish were carrying the ball, the New Zealanders used the smother tackle to stop the ball being passed, and then took the carrier to ground, rolling away as quickly as possible while the rest of the team set up to defend the resulting recycled ball. If it looked as if they could compete for the ball on the ground, one or two would go in to make just one attempt. If they failed, they pulled out of the breakdown situation to set up for defence.

 

On Saturday they often had nobody in the ruck or maul following a breakdown, once the tackler had rolled away. At one stage I paused the game at every breakdown to count the number of Irish over the ball versus the number of All Black. Usually three or four green jerseys competing with one black jersey. One ruck featured 5 Irishmen and not a single All Black. Three of the Irish had gone to ground around or near the ball to seal it off, and two were fringing to protect the ball. The scrumhalf arrived, the sixth Irishman to the ball. That meant that six of their 15 were on the ball, while 9 stood off waiting for the pass to attack against 15 defending All Blacks all up on their feet and waiting.

 

It was so very different to the Springbok game plan.

 

Perhaps the Bok system might have worked if they had managed physical domination and maintained their playing disciplines and had kept control of the ball, but atrocious handling, poor decisions, and inaccurate play meant that the ball was often lost, frequently turned over, and markedly slow coming back.

 

If you are going to go to ground with the ball, you have to control it and keep possession. Somehow the Italians managed to turn over the Bok ball 9 times on Saturday. This statistic is even more frightening when you realise that the Bok forwards did not manage a single turnover in the entire game. Not one!

 

The only turnover conceded by the Italians was stolen by Bryan Habana!!

 

South Africa has always prided itself for it’s game down on the ground. Nobody beats the Boks on the turnover. At least, nobody used to beat the Boks on the ground. Our loose forwards and hookers were renowned for their ball-stealing prowess. We seem to have lost that skill, somewhere.

 

In the last two games, against England and Italy, South Africa have been turned over a frightening 18 times, and have managed just 5 turn-overs gained.

 

There is something very very wrong with our forwards’ ball stealing skills!

 

If we look back at Saturday’s Test against Italy there was one positive to be found. After utterly woeful defence against England, the Springboks somehow managed to fix those many problems I mentioned with their set-up around the fringes and their defensive running lines amongst the backs. Against Italy, South Africa made 81 tackles and missed just 3, a 96% tackle success rate. That is as good as it gets.

 

As we analyse the Springbok performance against Italy, a very clear picture is emerging.

 

This team is playing a hugely conservative, supposedly low risk brand of rugby.  Much like the Heyneke Meyer’s game plan against the All Blacks in last year’s World Cup semi-final, there seems to be no plan or tactic designed to score tries! It is all about trundling the ball up the middle with pods of forwards, perhaps hoping to milk a penalty in the style of JakeBall, but usually floundering when we make a mistake or get turned over.

 

The problem is that our forwards are both inaccurate and indecisive in their play, and they are not establishing any level of physical dominance over their opponents.

 

The ball is only released to the backs when we run out of pods of forwards. It is almost as if the scrumhalf says “Oh, alright, here it is, see if you can do any better!” before he finally passes the ball to a back.

 

Which is very sad, especially when the Springboks have running backs like Willie le Roux, Ruan Combrinck, Damian de Allende, and even the old man Bryan Habana waiting for that ball.

 

Look at what they did the very few times they got the ball on the front foot.

 

Willie le Roux got his hands on the ball 26 times. He passed the ball immediately on receipt twice. He kicked it 3 times, made four handling errors, and attacked with the ball 7 times. With the ball in hand he made two line breaks, beat 5 defenders, ran 71 meters, and set up two tries! He passed the ball a total of 23 times. He did not die with the ball in hand once.

 

Ruan Combrinck saw less of the ball, yet he still made 83 meters with the ball in hand the five times he got to carry the ball! He beat two defenders in the process and made one clean line break!

 

Damian de Allende carried the ball 14 times, making 79 meters. He beat five defenders and managed one clean line break. He also scored a try. He did die with the ball a couple of times as he carried it back to the forwards in accordance with the team’s game plan, but that was to be expected.

 

These stats suggest that there is some potential in that Bok back division, if only they could get the ball going forwards! Almost invariably they get the ball from the forwards after numerous crash-balling carries, and when the forwards either run out of steam or ideas, and invariably when the opposition defence is set and waiting.

 

The more I look at the game against Italy, and the more I examine the statistics and the minutiae of the game itself, the more I come to the conclusion that this is not so much a team of no-hopers as a team that is very badly coached and even more poorly lead.

 

Yes, there are glaring holes in the team’s make-up. We do not have a scrumhalf who manages the game and gets his back division into play as quickly and often as possible. We do not have a flyhalf who puts his personal stamp on the game. We do not have loose-forwards that dominate the contact at the breakdown or on the ground. We have absolutely no fetchers amongst the forwards.

 

Our basic skills are in need of some serious polishing. Our handling has been atrocious. 15 knock-ons is unforgiveable.

 

And we certainly do not have a dynamic leader as captain.

 

But, we also have a coach who seems to have decided to play an archaic, forward oriented style of low risk rugby without even a nod towards flair and excitement.

 

Throughout 2016 I have been calling for Allister Coetzee to be given the time and space he needs to build his Springbok team. I have advocated patience. I have had much sympathy for the pressures he has to face from the media, the fans, the administrators and the politicians.

 

But, I fear, Allister has not shown me that he is making any progress with his team whatsoever.

 

There is zero progress in far too many areas of the Springbok game. Couple the lack of progress to some very strange selections, and a game plan that simply does not work, even against Italy, and it all suggests that Allister has run out of ideas.

 

But, before I join the inevitable chorus that is calling for Allister Coetzee to go, I have to throw out that one unanswerable question:- “Who else actually wants the Bok coaching job?”

 

Coetzee might be forced out, but nobody else has put his hand up and offered to sip from the poisoned chalice that is the Springbok Coach job.

 

 

For what it is worth, here are the game stats for last Saturday.

 

Italy won the game by 20 points to 18.

 

Both teams scored two tries, Italy converted both theirs, Soth Africa just one. Both teams kicked two penalties.

 

Possession: South Africa dominated 58% to Italy’s 42%

Territory: South Africa had the territorial advantage 62% to 38%

Yellow cards: Italy gave away one yellow card.

 

Attacking stats:

 

South Africa carried the ball 126 times, Italy just 81 times. Carries:

Clean breaks: South Africa made 7 clean breaks, and Italy just 1.

Defenders beaten: South Africa beat 20 defenders, Italy just 3. Metres run: South Africa managed 471 meters with the ball in hand, Italy 132.

Offloads: Both teams made 6 offloads

Passes: South Africa made 169 passes to Italy’s 96.

Turnovers won: Italy made 9 turnovers, South Africa just 1.

Loose ball collected: Italy collected the loose ball 14 times, South Africa just 8 times.

 

Defensive stats:

 

Tackles made: Italy 139 – SA 81

Tackles missed: Italy 20 – SA 3

Tackle success: Italy 93% – SA 96%

 

Kicking stats:

 

Kicks from hand: Italy 26 – SA 19

Kicks caught: Italy 11 – SA 20

 

Error stats:

 

Handling errors: Italy 10 - SA 15

Penalties conceded: Italy 10 - SA 7

 

First phase stats:

 

Lineouts won on own ball: Italy 16 – SA 11

Lineouts stolen: Italy 1 – SA 2

Scrums won: Italy 1 – SA 4

Scrums lost: Italy 1 – SA 1

 

 

 

Player Reports:

 

 

15 Willie le Roux:

 

Probably the best Bok on the park. Credit for setting up both Bok tries, very nearly put Habana away for another. Ran with the ball just 7 times but beat 5 defenders in the process, made 2 clean line breaks, and carried the ball 71 meters in the process. Did not die with the ball, passing 23 times and offloading once. Made some mistakes too, this is Willie le Roux, and his game does include the odd mistake. The mistakes were all (4) handling errors this time. 6/10

 

Willie le Roux Match Stats: Played: 74 Minutes. Scored: No points. Try Assists: 2. Carried the Ball: 7 times. Defenders Beaten: 5. Line Breaks: 2. Meters made: 71. Passes: 23. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 2. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 0. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 3. Kicks fielded/received: 9. Handling errors: 4. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

14 Ruan Combrinck:

 

Sometimes quiet, sometimes full of bustling energy. Made some good meters with the ball, but made some poor decisions in the process. Butchered a pass that messed up a promising attack. Made 5 tackles. Lost the ball in contact once and was turned over in the tackle once. 3/10

 

Ruan Combrinck Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 5 times. Defenders Beaten: 2. Line Breaks: 2. Meters made: 83. Passes: 1. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 5. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 5. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 2. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

13 Damian de Allende:

 

Better. Slowly starting to show signs of the form that made him so good in 2015, but all too late. Good running lines, good leg drive through the tackle, and a great try. Still missed 2 tackles! 4/10

 

Damian de Allende Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: 5 point, 1 try. Carried the Ball: 14 times. Defenders Beaten: 5. Line Breaks: 1. Meters made: 79. Passes: 4. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 2. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 2. Tackles missed: 2.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

12 Francois Venter:

 

Sometimes ran a good line with the ball in hand, but tended to get isolated in the process. Does not seem to have the strength on the burst that he has for his Cheetahs outfit. Inaccuracy remained a problem and messed up a couple of attacking opportunities with poor decisions. Better defence this time around. 3/10

 

Francoise Venter Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 10 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 46. Passes: 7. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 4. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

11 Bryan Habana:

 

Maybe Bryan scored a record 67th try, but that was about it. Some said he was there for his leadership, if so, I missed it. Did win South Africa’s one and only turnover on the day. One very poor kick receipt summed up Bryan’s game. It is time for the veteran to consider a coaching job somewhere. 3/10

 

Bryan Habana Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: 5 points, 1 try. Carried the Ball: 7 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 1. Meters made: 20. Passes: 3. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 1. Turnovers: 1. Tackles made: 2. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 1. Kicks fielded/received: 3. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

10 Pat Lambie:

 

Perhaps a little better, but not really a dominant display by the flyhalf. Did attack the advantage line and made some meters with the ball in hand, and did get his midfield going forward a couple of times. Still not commanding the back division with any authority and not stamping his mark on the game. 3/10

 

Pat Lambie Match Stats: Played: 52 Minutes. Scored: 5 points. 1 penalty goal, 1 conversion. Missed 1 conversion. Carried the Ball: 7 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 46. Passes: 14. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 3. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 1. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

9 Rudy Paige:

 

No.

 

Uncertain service off the base was very sluggish most of the time. No sense of urgency, no spark, no nothing. His decision-making was very poor. Starved his backs of the ball by feeding every ball to a pod of forwards. The weakest link in a weak team. 2/10

 

Rudy Paige Match Stats: Played: 52 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 2 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 68. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 3. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 3. Kicks fielded/received: 1. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

8 Warren Whiteley:

 

Simply not cutting it at the highest level of the game. Did not play towards the ball at all, save for one moment in the midfield where he tried to take an offload, but did not make the midfielders aware of his presence. Does not carry the ball with any authority, and does not provide much spark as a linking player. Yep, he makes tackles, but that is not all that is required of a Number 8. 3/10

 

Warren Whiteley Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 3 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 22. Passes: 9. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 1. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 9. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 1. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

7 Willem Alberts:

 

Not sure why he is in the team at all. On the blind-side he brought nothing to the game. No aggression, no purpose, none of the bone-crunching tackles he is renowned for. No attempts to win a turnover, no loose balls chased. Simply anonymous, and slow. 2/10

 

Willem Alberts Match Stats: Played: 64 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 10 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 6. Passes: 1. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 2. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

6 Nizaam Carr:

 

Anonymous performance. Made 12 tackles, and not much more. Seemed to be at a loss regarding ball stealing skills on the ground. 3/10

 

Nizaam Carr Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 8 times. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 6. Passes: 7. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 1. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 12. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

5 Lodewyk de Jager:

 

The silliness when he caught the kickoff and backed into Vincent Koch was his entire game in a moment. Gave nothing in open play, no muscle in contact and in the drive, and not much elsewhere. Was badly done by the referee ignoring lineout interference, but that does not excuse the rest of his game. 3/10

 

Lood de Jager Match Stats: Played: 70 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 10 times. Defenders Beaten: 2. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 3. Passes: 2. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 8. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 2. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

4 Pieter-Steph du Toit:

 

Not his usual self on the day. Very little of the wide ranging support play he is known for, and very little in the ball carrying department. Seemed tired. One good charge with the ball, made all his tackles. 3/10

 

Pieter-Steph du Toit Match Stats: Played: 80 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 9 times. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 1. Meters made: 30. Passes: 7. Offloads: 2. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 9. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

3 Vincent Koch:

 

Seemed determined to get involved as much as possible. Unfairly pinged in one scrum, but he got the basics right and did exactly what he was chosen to do but nothing extra. 4/10

 

Vincent Koch Match Stats: Played: 52 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 8 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 3. Passes: 0. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 4. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

2 Adriaan Strauss:

 

This was perhaps the weakest captaincy display ever in a Bok jersey. Strauss simply did not protest nor discuss the illegalities and infringements that George Clancy was ignoring. Gave zero leadership to his embattled troops. Yes, he got all his basics right, line-outs, scrums and running supporting lines, but nowhere near the level of game we know he is capable of playing. It is time for Adriaan Strauss to go. 2/10

 

Adriaan Strauss Match Stats: Played: 76 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 14 times. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 20. Passes: 4. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 3. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

1 Tendai Mtawarira:

 

It has taken all year for the Beast to start playing rugby the way he did as a much younger, hungry young prop. He did his job in the scrums, did his job in the lineouts, did his job on defence, and carried the ball too. But still died with the ball in hand! Did not really give much in the rucks and cleaning out on the fringes, but I guess the legs were a little tired after doing his job elsewhere. He is getting on a bit, you know….4/10

 

Beast Mtawarira Match Stats: Played: 52 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 5 times. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 5. Passes: 0. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 3. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 1.

 

Replacements:

 

16 Bongi Mbonambi:

 

Not enough time to be rated. Not even sure why he was thrown on with just 4 minutes left.

 

Bongi Mbonambi Match Stats: Played: 4 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 0 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 0. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 2. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

17 Steven Kitshoff (On for Mtawarira, 53rd min):

 

The ginger kid needs to start games. His ball carrying and fringe play is wasted as an “impact” player late in the game. His scrummaging is as powerful as anyone else in the game, his tackling is very good, and his presence over the ball is solid. 4/10

 

Steven Kitshoff Match Stats: Played: 28 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 2 times. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 2. Passes: 1. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 1. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 4. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

18 Trevor Nyakane (On Koch for, 53rd min):

 

Tried to breathe some fire into a team that seemed out on it’s feet. Made his contribution with strength in the scrum and lineout support, but never handled the ball. 4/10

 

Trevor Nyakane Match Stats: Played: 28 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 0 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 0. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 0. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

19 Franco Mostert:

 

Again, Not enough time to be rated. Should perhaps have entered the game 20 minutes earlier?

 

Franco Mostert Match Stats: Played: 10 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 0 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 4. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 0. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

20 Teboho Mohoje: (On for Alberts, 65th min):

 

Why did he not start the game? Brought some fire to the loose trio, and made one very good tackle. Very good support play, especially as second defender to the tackle. 4/10

 

Oupa Mohoje Match Stats: Played: 16 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 1 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 0. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 1. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 0. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

21 Francois de Klerk (On for Paige, 53rd min):

 

Much better at clearing the base of the rucks and mauls than Paige, the ball gets moving far quicker and more accurately. Also started to feed his flyhalf rather than the pods of forwards clustered around the place. Should start games rather than come on as impact player. 4/10

 

Faf de Klerk Match Stats: Played: 28 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 2 times. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 0. Passes: 11. Offloads: 1. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 3. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 1. Kicks fielded/received: 1. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

22 Elton Jantjies: (On for Lambie, 53rd min):

 

Needs to go back to tackling school! The hand-off in the in-goal area was simply embarrassing. Did zero with the ball in hand, and kicked away half the ball he received. Not an answer to the Bok woes! 2/10

 

Elton Jantjies Match Stats: Played: 28 Minutes. Scored: 3 points. 1 penalty goal. Carried the Ball: 1. Defenders Beaten: 0. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 5. Passes: 7. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 2. Tackles missed: 1.

Kicks from hand: 4. Kicks fielded/received: 2. Handling errors: 0. Penalties conceded: 0.

 

23 Johan Goosen:

Not enough time to be rated.

 

Johan Goosen Match Stats: Played: 6 Minutes. Scored: No points. Carried the Ball: 1 time. Defenders Beaten: 1. Line Breaks: 0. Meters made: 24. Passes: 0. Offloads: 0. Looseball Collected: 0. Turnovers: 0. Tackles made: 0. Tackles missed: 0.

Kicks from hand: 0. Kicks fielded/received: 1. Handling errors: 1. Penalties conceded: 0.

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